The way people treat women who wear the Hijab is really weird, as someone who has a lot of friends who wear the Hijab and as someone who used to wear it I find it strange. I don’t even know if ‘othering’ is the right word for how the world treats them, it’s more like seeing them in a weird infantile manner. Like diminishing their ability to have life achievements outside of being meek, mild and nurturing is expected, as opposed to being called bullshit. I like in the UK and honestly I see some weird things when it comes to this topic.
People here sort of see women who wear the hijab in a few categories:
- Shy – meek, mild
- Outside of the norm
Now if you don’t understand why these connotations are weird, let me break this down for you nice and simply.
The hijab is literally a way of covering yourself for religious purposes, it doesn’t change a person’s personality, nor their achievements. The only thing that makes someone who practices Islam this way different is the religion. So wearing the hijab won’t make anyone ‘less than’ or an ‘other’ in any way shape of form.
I mentioned that people have an weird unconscious infantilisation when it comes to hijabis and here’s my time to explain it – they somehow think about them the same way they see children.
Whenever a woman who wears a hijab has an acheivement, they react in shock like what they did isn’t the norm, when in reality women who wear the hijab have been succeeding for centuries.
Whenever a woman who wears a hijab speaks about adult topics (yes guys I’m talking about sex), they react in shock. Like the idea that they could infact speak about it, and have it/urges is a concept that is ridiculous. Theres also a belief that they need more education on this topic which if you’re talking about general sex education, then everyone needs it, but a specific ‘you won’t know any better’ argument is just ridiculous.
Story time – I was in my university feminist society and we had a meeting about initiatives to do, a male suggested we do special sex education topics for the muslim community within my university, as the girls ‘may not know anything about it’ – I have paraphrased, but that was the general gist. I had to speak out against him because the assumption was not only wrong but also weirdly suggestive of their ignorance – which is offensive by the way.
The level of control within the muslim community also leads to an atmosphere of ‘othering’. When I use the examples for control, I’m well aware a lot of it is culture and not Islam itself, as people tend to inflate the two and honestly it gives the religion a false sense of hostility, but a lot of the men do practice a lot of controls over women, especially those who wear the hijab.
Women who wear the hijab are policed on how they dress, whether it’s modest, whether their ankles are showing – quite literally everything. They even are criticised on behaviour, whether they’re ‘halal’ enough, it’s honestly a joke and I feel like people outside of the religion and our cultures see this behaviour and also absorb a big portion of it and that’s just depressing.
We need to cut this shit out like a cancer and start seeing anyone who decides to openly practice their religion as a human, like everyone else. Not only is it ‘othering’ but it just adds unnecessary fire to the level of discrimination and hate they’re already receiving.
Also if you see anyone openly being shitty or saying a horrible thing about someone who is wearing the hijab, defend them, don’t just sit by and let it happen.